Writing in the Sunday New York Times, Jennifer Schuessler (“In History Departments, It’s Up With Capitalism”) examines the focus on the history of capitalism by a new generation of scholars. The support of university presses has been key to the new discipline’s development, as editors see innovative scholarship and exciting new topics in recent dissertations. (This is no surprise to AAUP: the work of university press editors has often been foundational to emerging disciplines, such as African-American studies, postmodernism, queer studies…the list goes on.)
Schuessler features a number of UP books and series, including:
- Columbia University Press’s new series “Columbia Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism.” Their first title is a look at the modern consumer credit bureau, The Good Consumer, by Josh Lauer, and based on Lauer’s dissertation research.
- Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in America by Jonathan Levy from Harvard University Press.
- To Serve God and Wal-mart:The Making of Christian Free Enterprise by Bethany Moreton, from Harvard. (A book for which Moreton has assigned her royalties and subsidiary earnings to Interfaith Worker Justice and its Athens, GA, affiliate the Economic Justice Coalition.)
- Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink by Louis Hyman, a 2011 Choice Outstanding Academic Title, from Princeton University Press.
- A Nation of Counterfeiters: Capitalists, Con Men, and the Making of the United States by Stephen Mihm, also from Harvard University Press.
- Forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida by Nathan Connolly.
- [UPDATED] Forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press, Nan Enstad’s The Jim Crow Cigarette: Following Tobacco Road from North Carolina to China and Back.
And there are, of course, more such titles from these and other university presses that are helping to shape the new history of capitalism.
- The collected essays of Capitalism Takes Command: The Social Transformation of Nineteenth-Century America, edited by Michael Zakim and Gary J. Kornblith (University of Chicago Press, 2011), were called “essential reading for anyone interested in the future of the field.” by Mihm.
- When Wall Street Met Main Street: The Quest for an Investors’ Democracy by Julia C. Ott (Harvard UP, 2011), possibly the first scholar hired specifically as a historian of capitalism.
- Please add more new and forthcoming titles in the comments!
The study of the history of capitalism is deeply intertwined with other topics in historical scholarship, and readers will find much that is relevant in several AAUP Books for Understanding resources, including book lists on Financial Crises, Economic Inequality and Justice, Slavery and Jim Crow, and the social safety net.
3 thoughts on “The History of Capitalism at University Presses”
Please add Unprecedented Power: Jesse Jones, Capitalism, and the Common Good by Steven Fenberg (Texas A&M University Press, 2011), a biography of the former chairman of the Reconstruction Finance Corp., who saved farms, homes, banks and businesses; built infrastructure; set the price of gold with FDR each morning in the president’s bedroom; and in the process made a substantial profit for the government. URL: http://www.tamupress.com/product/Unprecedented-Power,6770.aspx
Schuessler’s article also mentions Nan Enstad’s “The Jim Crow Cigarette: Following Tobacco Road from North Carolina to China and Back,” which is forthcoming from UNC Press.
Edward E. Baptist, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism.